It’s a Big World, But There’s No Place Like Home

You needn’t stray far to experience a diverse environment for engagement and discovery.

May 20, 2013

For some, summertime brings opportunity to travel. Getaways to far-flung places allow for exploration of varied geography, cultures, lifestyles, and food. Journeys afar bring an array of new people and experiences to broaden our horizons and enlighten us in many ways.

But we should also consider that those who are open-minded, curious, and willing to learn may view the community right outside their window as a diverse environment for engagement and discovery. We can challenge existing preconceptions and learn about ourselves and others if we take the time to empathize and reflect—even in our own backyards.

Home is where we might make the greatest impact with this awareness should we choose to make an impression, help a cause, or provide a service.

Greater understanding of our immediate surroundings and our neighbors can lead to conversation, collaboration, and appreciation for how and what motivates us, singly and collectively. We are interconnected, and informed interactions will lead to beneficial outcomes because we know what each of us needs to succeed.

Survey the workplace landscape

You might not even have to venture outside to make discoveries. Read on for the latest news on what’s happening in the office.

Does management have open and honest interaction with staff? There may be room for improvement, according to CNN Money.  Survey results indicate 84% of “non-desk” workers “don’t get enough information from top management, while 75% said their employers aren’t telling them enough about changes in policies and goals.”

Messages from senior officers are deemed important by 74% of respondents who are “left in the dark.” It is imperative that front-line employees, as visible representatives of the organization, know what is expected of them because “a few bad customer experiences are enough to blow it.”

If you are a curious manager and want to know what staffers think, look into “10 Ways to Get Honest Feedback from Your Employees.” Some suggestions from the Young Entrepreneur Council will provide inroads to positive communications:

Often, job realities are different than what’s expected, according to the “Glassdoor Blog.”  A small majority of new hires claim job realities do not align with expectations presented during the hiring process. Some points of confusion arise among the issues of job responsibility, company culture, leadership competence, career advancement, and the personality of the boss.

Both job candidates and hiring managers are responsible for good communications. Managers must engage with candidates throughout the process, be honest, and allow other employees to share their experiences.

Candidates need to know what they want in a position, be attentive, and research prospective employers.

Home in on consumer sentiments

“Customers have preferences for how they interact with a bank to meet various banking needs,” says Gallup in “How Customers Interact With Their Banks.”

Were you aware that:

Detailed charts and graphs will provide further illumination as to how best serve your members in various venues.

If you hope to facilitate more online interactions, see “Banks: Get Your Customers to Go Digital.” 

Consumer migration to less-costly digital channels involves a manageable level of risk. “Understanding how customers are likely to react…to impending changes is a critical first step—and one that can help…avoid a drop in customer engagement, revenue, profitability and customer retention.”

The study suggests defining channel-use strategies, offering consumers positive or negative incentives, exploring “positive defaults” (opting out vs. opting in), and providing a “technology concierge” to assist with change.

Making a switch to technology for some consumers is easy, says Luxury Daily, reporting that 73% of users want to interact with loyalty programs via their mobile devices. “Many marketers are talking about mobile as a channel for acquiring and engaging customers…” and “there is a need for marketers to focus on reaching loyalty members in the right context and right channel.”

The article provides strategies for mobile service delivery, although 46% “said they want to receive communications from three or more channels.”

Issues surrounding mobile engagement and other new technologies are further reported in “The Digital Commerce Revolution” by strategy+business. Managers need standards and practices to drive digital growth. All devices, advertising channels, and media types are important considerations; timing is crucial.

“A focused digital commerce strategy can be a game changer for most businesses, and can become the foundation for multichannel revenue expansion that is enabled across devices and powered by compelling content and insights.”

It is a big world out there, and we can’t learn all there is to know. But we can practice good communication, tap into curiosity, empathize, and maintain awareness through the exploration of many accessible information sources.  There is a lot we can learn right at home.

In the words of Tim Berners Lee, the British inventor credited with creating the World Wide Web—and one who has contributed immensely to shrinking the globe with the easy exchange of information—“We need diversity of thought in the world to face the new challenges.”






Lora Bray is a research librarian at CUNA.